Africa-Turkey higher education partnerships unveiled

Africa and Turkey have unveiled a higher education cooperation plan that includes setting up a joint university, networking among Turkish and African universities and enhancing student and academic mobility.

The plan was the outcome of the first Turkish-African universities collaboration forum and education fair held in Ilgaz in Turkey recently.

The forum was organised by Cankiri Karatekin University in partnership with Sudan's higher education and scientific research ministry, the Turkish Higher Education Council, and Turkish and African universities, as well as governmental and non-governmental groups.

The meeting was attended by the higher education ministers of Sudan and Djibouti, along with higher education experts, policy-makers, rectors, officials and representatives from about 47 African and 19 Turkish universities.

During the forum, a project to establish a joint Sudanese Turkish University in Khartoum was presented “as a cornerstone for strengthening the fruitful ongoing cooperation for the future benefit of higher education in both countries”.

Growing collaboration

According to the final report of the meeting, approximately 80 agreements between African and Turkish universities have been signed, including the Mevlana Exchange Programme and joint exchange and collaboration protocols.

Currently there are 5,437 students from African nations studying in higher education institutions in Turkey under Turkish government scholarships, according to a 27 May news report headlined “Turkey seeks deeper relations with Africa”.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws by Makerere University in Uganda in May 2016, and another from the University of Algiers II in Algeria in June 2014.

Sudanese-Turkish University

The Sudanese Turkish University’s mission will be to become a leading force in higher education and jointly deliver teaching-learning, research and community service of the highest possible standards, the proposal says.

It will prioritise research, links with industry and community outreach, and strive to become a prestigious joint hub in technology, innovation and knowledge transfer.

The joint Sudanese Turkish University will be located in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum in a 500,000m² area known as the Africa City of Technology.

Proposed programmes include information communication technology, urban planning and design, renewable energy engineering, water supply and sanitary engineering, water harvesting, food processing, engineering, petroleum and mining engineering, biotechnology and molecular sciences, and biomedical engineering.

As part of a broad strategy to build cooperation between universities in Turkey and Africa, the establishment of a joint Morocco-Turkey university is also underway.

Several areas of collaboration between Turkish and African universities were presented including academic staff exchange; joint research and development; associate, bachelor, masters and doctoral programmes; vocational and technical education courses; joint scientific meetings; and summer and winter schools.